Some people have requested that I republish a few of my blog posts!
I decided to start with this one!!
I hope you enjoy!
In 1961, my very talented mother was in Paris on a trip. She had admired an artist throughout the 40′s and 50′s. His name was Marcel Vertes; and he was an Hungarian who lived in Paris until the war; and then he lived in New York. He was working in all kinds of mediums. My mother was in advertising; I think that was when she first started following him. He did all the advertisements for Elsa Schiaparelli ; her “Shocking” perfume; even designing the bottle!
He also won an Academy award for set design for “Moulin Rouge.
She timed her trip to coincide with a show of his oil paintings at the Katia Granoff gallery.
My mother timed her trip to coincide with a show of his oil paintings at the Katia Granoff gallery. He died shortly before the exhibit, in 1961.
I was 14 years old. She told me that she loved his art, his whimsy, his colors, and his animals. She also said she loved his women because they reminded her of me!!
This one was the sixth!
This was the beginning of a lifelong collection of the work of one artist by my mother, my brother, and by me!
This is a beautiful one that was above our living room mantle while I was growing up!
We had a fire in 1982, and one of my mother’s Vertes oils was lost. I bought this one from my dear Tony Duquette and Hutton Wilkinson; and after I had purchased it, they told me it had belonged to Elsie de Wolfe. My mother gave me her book, The House in Good Taste; which had inspired me to become a decorator!!
My daughter gave me a birthday party for 30 guests! Two of my grandchildren Penelope (Poppy), and Eva are here!
Poppy is taller than I am! Eva is about the same so far!
Poppy, my daughter Ella, me and Eva!
There was a long table; and three of these beautiful “woodland fairyland centerpieces! Scott Hogue did a beautiful job!
Poppy and Eva read a beautiful poem that reminded them of me!
(it was about “telling stories”!!
these beautiful women!
So many of my favorite people!! What a happy, wonderful day!!!
Can you catch that devilish and adorable spirit!
And, just like her Granny; there is a bird on her head!
Eva said, “Granny, make the peace sign!”
So I did!!
For my subscribers; it will perhaps no surprise that I LOVE “whimsy, fun, fantasy and Chinoiserie (which combines them all)!
Here is the story of the “Screens”! As I said in the title……I find it completely uncanny!!
Three 4 panel Chinoiserie screens that I adore……..by the same artist…….1 in NYC at auction 1996; one in Los Angeles on Melrose; Perhaps 2006!!!
and one in the most divine townhouse in all
of New york City…….(just my opinion…..and many others!!!)2013!
I believe all the same artist!
I am blessed with a photographic memory. Unfortunately (I am not complaining……it has MADE my career!!)
It did not come with a labeling system I also cannot draw (even a cat!) so there is no way to “show it” However…….something
like this happens every now and then!!!
FUN!!! (recently in short supply) FUN!!! More
I am running this post again!
I just bought another of his beautiful “giclees” for my granddaughter Poppy’s birthday!
I thought many of you hadn’t subscribed to my blog yet; and would love to see these!
I have always loved, loved , loved Chinoiserie!! I have been planning to do a post on it! It is all through my house; and has been in all of my houses!
In many different forms!
However, I have never found a contemporary (as in “alive” today) artist who painted paintings that captured the particular idiom I adore!
Imagine my surprise when I fetched the following out of my “SPAM FOLDER”!!
(I DON’T THINK I HAVE EVER EVEN LOOKED AT MY SPAM FOLDER. THIS MESSAGE CAME THE DAY I OPENED MY SPAM FOLDER!!)
THIS IS THE MESSAGE WITH THE PICTURES ATTACHED.
I START TO SCROLL DOWN!
BE STILL MY HEART!!!
LOOK AT THE COLORS! LOOK AT THE SCALE OF THE BUTTERFLY! AND THE SNAIL!
HONESTLY, NEVER HAVE I SEEN ANYTHING SO “ME”! I COULDN’T BELIEVE MY EYES!
(SERIOUSLY, I HAD TO GET UP AND WALK AROUND, BREATHE DEEPLY, AND CALM DOWN.)
BEFORE GOING ON!
HOW ABOUT THIS ONE!!
THE HERMIT CRAB IN A “STOLEN SHELL”! WITH THE CHINESE FENCE! I AM BESIDE MYSELF!
HE IS GOING TO CATCH THAT BUTTERFLY!
TO ADD TO HIS “COLLECTION
IN THE BIRDCAGE……THE FEATHERS IN THE CHINESE VASE!
THE INCREDIBLE PLAY OF “SCALE” SLAYS ME!
THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF WHIMSY; BEAUTIFUL COLORS AND DETAILS.
I THINK THERE ARE PROBABLY ” SECRET MESSAGES” IN THESE PAINTINGS!
I SERIOUSLY COULD NOT ADORE THESE MORE!
HE IS RIDING ON A CRAB!
LOOKING AT SNAILS CRAWLING ON CORAL! (WHO COULD THINK OF THIS?)
THE ONES ABOVE WERE IN THE INITIAL EMAIL.
THEN I WENT TO HIS WEBSITE!
I NOW REALIZE I HAVE BEEN HIDING UNDER A ROCK!
HOW I COULD HAVE MISSED HIM, I DON’T KNOW!
HE HAS BEEN FEATURED ON SEVERAL OF MY FAVORITE BLOGS!
HE HAS SEVERAL CATEGORIES ON HIS WEBSITE BESIDES “CHINOISERIES”!!
HERE IS A “SAMPLING”!
UNDER “FLOWER AND SHELL LADIES”:
THIS ONE IS CALLED “SEA OF POPPIES”
IF SHE (WHO “IS A POPPY”) ISN’T THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING “SAILING AWAY”! GOOD
GRIEF! SHE IS MANNING THE TILL……SAILING HER CHART!
KINDA SCARY, REALLY! MY “POPPY” IS GRADUATING FROM 8TH
GRADE IN A WEEK; AND IS OFF TO BOARDING SCHOOL!
(MORE LATER ON THAT!)
This story has been a long and winding road!
Anyone following my “blog” knows!!
Rather than publishing the three former installments; if you haven’t seen them, you can click on the “search” box on this blog,
and write “Monterey Colonial”
and they will show up! If you haven’t seen them; I suggest you do that first!!
It is very fun even for me to compare the “before” “during” and these most recent!
It surely proves what I have always said; a house is NEVER “finished”!! A house is like a “life”; ”a scrapbook” of the lives living in it; and is
always a “work in progress” over the lifetimes spent in it! A great house adapts to the family
and animals who live in it! And it evolves as they do!
I hope you are enjoying the journey!!
Did you give up on this update post?? I’m so glad you didn’t!!!
Well ! Come on in!!
A peek into the living room! (A work in progress!!)
(Joni! I already know my pictures are terrible….my assistant will help more!!)
The library! Remember the window on the right was turned into a TV cabinet! No light came in here1
also heavy shutters on French doors!
big plantation shutters block out at least 50% of the light!!
Our grandson’s room on the first floor just past the library!
Grasscloth, tortoise wood blinds; and twin headboards! Bedskirts match headboards!
(“dust ruffle” is the female equivalent)
There is a surfboard mounted on the right wall! So cool!!!
It looks like a grown-up boy! He’s almost 15!!!
Up the stairs!
The hall to the “Jill and Jill” bedrooms and bath. The door on the right goes out to the balcony at the top of the “Lover’s stairs”
The bedroom at the end of the hall!
Family pictures where they belong!!! Not in silver frames spread all over the house! Framed and
hung on wall people walk by every single day..and starting at eye level; up and down past that!!!
The sixteen- year old’s bedroom!
This is blurry….so sorry! I want to show the curtains that they had in Switzerland; lovely silk panels were remade for this
bedroom AND the Roman shades in her sister’s!
As long as the fabric is a ”natural fabric”; curtains can last through many houses
and incarnations! These are 100% silk; and from Pottery Barn, no less!!
In the new Mario Buatta book; he shows us his curtains he has had for fifty years!!
Redone for each of this three residences! (added on, taken off, valance added; Honestly!! Fifty years!!!
(do buy this book; it is a DOOZER!!!)
SHE LOVES PINK!!!
To the left before the end of the hall!
The other girl’s bedroom with the sky and the birds! Thank goodness
she decided to keep the birds!!!
SAME FABRIC!! redone into roman shades!!!
On to the Master bedroom!
The headboard is in; and the curtains were fixed!
I love this bed alcove….there are bookcases in there on both sides!
These curtains and shades were made from curtains they had in Switzerland!!!
There are windows on three sides!
Windows on three sides; and French doors to the balcony on the front!
I adore this hand-painted chest! It says some wonderful saying in French! With someone’s birthdate!
I think it was a birthday present to someone in the 30′s!!
I found it in Summerland at a wonderful antique store!
It was happy living in Switzerland for 8 years!
But I am even happier that it is “home”!!!
The fireplace is greatly improved!
You can see the gate in the back of the garden!
Here are a few exteriors!!
The agapanthus and the jacarandas look wonderful blooming at the same time!
Newly planted beds in the side garden! And big pots with olive trees!
Two new gates to match the one in the back (but singles)!
This gate goes to the pool from the back…..beautiful oak tree!!!
This one is in the front!
Up the “lover’s staircase”!
Through the porte-cochere!
Through the “porte-cochere”!
Leading to …..
Through the rose arbors, lots of refining!
To a lovely focal point!
There are vegetable and herb beds!
Vegetable beds! And…….
Hydrangeas and roses!
My favorite poppies!
As progress moves along; I will keep everyone posted!! This house has some very serious fans!
I keep getting email saying “HURRY UP!!!”
I am sorry I haven’t been faster at updates! The good news is that my “real job” has been busy!
I will also keep you posted on that!
I am doing a wonderful house in my favorite part of Los Angeles (actually Santa Monica) for a wonderful guy!!
(he wrote one of my very favorite movies of all time!!)
“School of Rock”!!
He was also our daughter’s “her Best Man” at her wedding 19 years ago! Best friends since
“crib room” at Sunday School!!!
(I was so sure he would be a “STAR” I asked him for his autograph when he was in third grade)
He is a “perfect client”!
Well; again, instead of just launching into the
” update” on our “Montecito Monterey Colonial”; because of my new subscribers, I am repeating the “during” published in January!
With three children relocating from Europe; all the things I had done to the house in their absence, the progress now is slowing down! But “slow and steady wins the race!!” And our daughter
will not make any mistakes! This is the post that was posted in January!
(I will make some notes along the way!)
This is the continuation of the “restoration” of the Joseph Plunkett designed “Monterey Colonial” house we found (finally); in Montecito after a two-year
search for our daughter and her family to move “back to Montecito ” after 8 years in Switzerland!! I consider it one of the “magnificent houses built in the ’30′s!!!”;
by a premier architect in the ”Monterey Colonial” Style!
First; the architect! Joseph Plunkett arrived in Santa Barbara and worked for the excellent architect George Washington Smith; and then was
half of the firm “Edwards and Plunkett”. Unfortunately, he died at 46!!
The fact that he is so famous and he died so young is a great testament to his talent! The most important part was to restore the house!
Before my next installment of pictures (our daughter really didn’t want this installment….but gave permission with the caveat:
“it isn’t finished being decorated yet!”
Well; in my world….nothing ever is! Her choices (my advice; but completely her choices) of colors, rugs, and finishes. This is the interim…….but the restoration of this house has been so educational for me!
So here it is showing a restoration in progress!
My philosophy (fortunately shared by my step-daughter and her husband) is to start with the house!
No complaints! the “bones” of this house are as “good as it gets” , in my opinion!
You have seen the before! And one installment of during! Mostly the exterior!
Here we go!!! The interior!
There were lots of things to be done before they arrived.
Let’s start with the entry hall. (I had been looking for two years; and when I first saw this house; the front door opened; I looked up and saw the sky!
I immediately thought; ”this wants to be blue!” Our daughter agreed! We tried at least 6 colors of blue! emailing back and forth…….we waited until she
arrived…..we chose “light blue”; Farrow and Ball”
(All paints by Farrow and Ball used for the whole house!!)
(I have been a decorator in Pasadena and Montecito for 43 years.,,,never have I stepped into an entry hall and looked up and seen “the sky”!!)
Never! Here it is!
Here it is! this is the window one sees when you step in the door!
I thought……”this entry wants to be blue!”
Fortunately; our daughter agreed! She ‘got ‘it when she saw it!
we both (and the painter); learned so much from how colors change according to the “light”!!
One lovely reason to use “Farrow and Ball” (do not believe one paint store who says they can duplicate these paints!)
They cannot! There are way more pigments than any American paint!
Here it is blue! (Farrow and Ball, ”Light blue”)
By the way, this border looks orange in this picture! It isn’t! It is red; closer to the next picture!
The daughter had always dreamed of this runner! I suggested the red binding….she went for it! She loves it!
This house has the lovely architectural feature of an “enfilade”!
One stands just inside the front door; ( it is a central hall floor plan) and one can see through aligned doorways from one end of the house to the other! Each way. (very unusual in Southern California!) A beautiful architectural feature anywhere.
Looking into the living room!
The view from the entry to the left! (one can see through the far doorway the library fireplace !)
(If I were a better photographer)
Tucked under the circular staircase is a charming powder room (behind the white door in the entry hall).
I love the curving wall; I think it gives it the best personality and charm!
Many people would consider it a “flaw”! I simply adore quirky and brilliant things like this!
It is so obvious to me (even before I knew the architect) that this house was designed by a brilliant architect!!
The charming little sink was original to the house in 1934; but it was pink! She did not want pink (nor did I); but we found
someone to refinish it!
I was delighted to be able to preserve it!
The Library transformed!!
One of the things that bothered us was that a window in the beautifully paneled library
had been removed to make into a TV cabinet! Thank goodness the window itself, and the outside shutters had been saved!
What a difference!! This is when we removed the cabinet. Great care was taken (by the owner who made the tv cabinet!!) not to enlarge the opening;
and so everything fit perfectly back together! And look at the light! And the view!!
What a difference!!!
This, below, is after the restoration; you will notice that we painted the backs of the bookcases to match the paneling.
The fireplace was an “antique” in 1934! And the restoration of the “window” was important!
this is the same view that showed the two sinks………We reduced it to one…….removed the tile…….
and our boy grandson made friends with the bathroom!
And the inside of the showers we did in “Brooke and Steve’s pool plaster”! (of “Velvet and Linen” and “Giannetti Architects”) It looks beautiful!!
You can put pigments in it; but this is just plain; and there is a very interesting kind of “patina”!
Brooke and Steve let me bring our plasterer down to their house in Oxnard to see!
Below was the built-in dresser between the bathroom and bedroom.
Nothing wrong with the drawers; soaked the shiny brass “lacquered ” hardware in some solution! Painted the cabinet Farrow and Ball ”Railings”
Good lines make easy solutions!
There are two windows in this space. The shutters shut out (interesting name for shutters) light, views, and also made it impossible to open the windows!
She picked a lovely camel grasscloth wallpaper; and then the mirror was hung!
this above; became this; below!
Same knobs. they were shiny brass! Soaked in turpentine; they became understated and they
are the new “unpolished brass…..which will weather naturally…..the natural finish that is
fortunately gaining force into fashion today!
Our daughter found some lovely “grasscloth”! and his room is getting better and better!!
The house is mostly one room deep; which is one of the best of its architectural features!
Two of the four bedrooms have three exposures; making wonderful light and views!
This post was meant to show; and it may (appropriately be called) “The end of during”
Back to the entry hall; to the left is the living room with French doors opening to the front terrace and the back terrace; to the right is the dining room shown here! The beams in the living room and dining room were formerly brown. We selected two colors of off-white for the woodwork and the walls.
Both the living room; and the dining room have French doors on both sides; opening to the north (this view) and to the south (onto the front terrace).
The view from the dining room!
I am so sorry about these pictures! The beams and trim are a lovely off-white! The color of the beams is the same color as the trim!
Going up the stairs, these charming wood valances are over the two windows on the curving walls!
These were also original to the house in 1934! We plan to paint some detail!
(No curtains/ shades yet here and in the boy’s bedroom!)
Now the Master Bedroom! Here it was with these beams, shutters and fireplace before.
The tile “sneaked” in from the bathroom!
It is the same tile as in the downstairs bathroom!~
This tile was “much loved” by the truly darling family that installed it (I am guessing 40 years ago!)
(I do tell my clients; and always have; try to put simple “permanent” things like tile and plumbing fixtures mostly white; because when
you decide you are “tired” of patterns or colors; paint and wallpaper are easy to change!) ( This tile
all over the walls and floors of two bathrooms and sneaking into the bedrooms and dressing rooms was not easy to change!!)
No more tile; painted the brick, and used some leftover marble from the downstairs counter on the hearth.
She loves carpeting in a bedroom; it makes it very cozy and this carpet seems like an extension of the hardwood floors!
I love it!!!
Beams removed. Such a pretty shaped ceiling! Again, this room has 3 exposures and beautiful light and views!
Pool plaster shower and walls; ”borrowed light” ceiling ; new cabinet
with a space for either a dressing table or a free standing bathtub.
“Pool plaster” shower, limestone floors and countertop of beautiful new cabinet!
A medicine cabinet on the left and the right! (behind the mirrored panels)
Thank you Brooke and Steve of Velvet and Linen and Giannetti Architects and Giannetti Home for the pool
Here is the view from the master bedroom, bath, other bedrooms of the mountains and trees!
That redwood in the right corner is so
tall I can’t even estimate!
These mountains are beautiful!
this is the view from every bedroom; the living and dining rooms!
At the top of the stairs; turn left and there are two “jack and jill” bedrooms (in this case they are jill and jill’s)!
Two bedrooms that share a dressing room, two walk-in closets and a bath! The girl twin and her older sister each have one!
Such a perfect set up!
This bedroom had a mural on all four walls!
They primed the walls before the ceiling and I came in! I said; ”YIKES!!! Save that ceiling!! I LOVE IT!!!!”
Fortunately, my granddaughter did too! Two hand-painted birds are building a nest!
And it is a lovely sky!
I LOVE HAPPY ENDINGS!!!
The second bedroom which shares the dressing room and bath!
Still awaiting headboard and a few things!
(DON’T FORGET IT “ISN’T DECORATED YET!”)
Two exposures; facing East and South!
Farrow and Ball “Calamine”!
This daughter is 16! She loves “pink!”
Their bathroom was done completely in “pool plaster!
A new bathtub; and another cabinet made “on site” (the way they did it in 1934)!!
Again, like the master bath; limestone floors and counters; in this case; the splash had to have the faucets and spout come of of the wall to give more space!
Gorgeous! (to me!!)
I hope you enjoy!
Funny story. Our housekeeper was helping at this house;
and a man came in! He said….”I saw this house on the internet; I need to know the manufacturer, the colors and number of the paints on the outside!
( Our housekeeper is very, very smart!)
She said ”I will ask”! ”Mrs. Penny” (I love that!)
So; here’s what! If anyone wants the names and number of the colors; let me know!
I will list them all!
One of the greatest beauties of Farrow and Ball; is their “sample pots”!
Colors changed from room to room more than I ever thought possible!
The painter and I thought we were losing our minds!
(this has been my painter for 16 years) !!!
Critical in selecting a paint color! You
paint enough on the wall……and you look at it at all times of the day!
Take advantage, I suggest, of this feature this paint company provides!
(no I do no advertising)
I have no connection with Farrow and Ball!
“Old School” (you should see him……he is the coolest looking ‘surfer’ you will ever see!!)
And he is of the “old school” when it comes to painting! He subscribes to my bible…..and that is “preparation, preparation, preparation!!”
and another post is coming!
A house is NEVER finished…….and this, like all, is evolving! there are just more posts! and the next one will be in a day or two!
What a treat to work on such a treasure!!!
The repaired gate in the center of the back garden!
This is what Sara Dillard (one of my favorite bloggers and writers)!
calls an “axis” It is in the center of the hedges in the back garden and creates
a lovely focal point on axis from the center of the house! The entry hall!
What fun it is!
This lovely, classic house will continue to evolve! It is a house that is not too small for five people; and not too “big” for two!
Steve Giannetti has designed a terrific “playroom and guest room and bath in the garage space on the right in this picture!
(on his iPad to scale…it was a wonder to watch!)
When they can; this will be the next project!
The most exciting thing of all is having our grandchildren back from Europe; and our daughter
and son-in-law so close!
Our daughter says, every time she drives in the driveway, she “pinches herself” that she really lives in this house!
We all feel incredibly fortunate!
I am especially grateful for my “team”! None of this could have been done without my
absolutely amazing team! Alfredo; the most brilliant “jack of all trades” he made all the cabinets, the replacement french door screens,
repaired all the hardware; I could go on and on!
Joe; the best electrician in the world; (and the handsomest!);
Rick the best painter in the world,and all the wonderful subcontractors who fixed all the
things you could ever dream of!
It is now the “best of all worlds! The quality and beauty of an “old house”;
and the benefits of a “new house” with all the electrical, plumbing and heating updated and
Hang on tio your hats
the most important changes were in this post!
the next one shows some more. Chip away!!!; it you do it right; it takes a long time to redo a treasure of an old house…….
I hope you enjoyed this “catch-up”!
The next installment will be the most recent!
Remember; it takes a long time for a house to be “done”! (it is never finished!!)
It remains a work “in progress!!”
I hope you will enjoy the “process”! As our darling daughter and I do!!!
9 months later!!!
October 26th!! 2013!!!
Hi there again!
I am going to post the “present pictures” of our Monterey Colonial; however, it has been so long since I have posted; and I have many new subscribers; so I decided to republish the
last post”during” a day or two before the “present” so no one has to search for it!!
Here was the post last May!
The above is “present” exterior!
I am so sorry!
I am back!
My assistant (who helped me endlessly with my blog left to travel; and I thought I knew more than I did how to do it!
(the blog, I mean!)
This is such an exciting thing for me; and I want to share all the things I have learned!
Here goes the first one! The “exterior” during! And that doesn’t even include the garden!
This is a Joseph Plunkett designed house built in 1935 in Montecito, California.
He was a very respected and accomplished architect here. He contributed to the magnificent City Hall here;
he designed our beautiful original airport, the “Arlington Theatre” (drop-dead amazing and beautiful);
the original “Paseo” ; contributed to the “City Hall” (famous throughout the world)!!!~
and many other buildings and houses is Montecito, Santa Barbara, Ojai and Santa Ynez!
He died at 46; which is even more astonishing that he designed so many buildings that are so well known for their artistry!
I thought I would do one post on the “during”!
There will have to be more than one! I am starting on the “exterior”! And this is the first of the “during”!
The post on the “before” was my last post!
Here is the “Monterey Colonial” house I found for our daughter’s family here in Montecito!
Their goal was to “move back!”I started looking two years ago!
I knew when I walked in the door………this house took my breath away!
I knew it would take a lot of work to restore it; but I didn’t really know HOW much!
Sad to say; this house had been neglected in ways many older houses are! It is called “deferred maintenance”!
It is extremely common in old houses!
This house was first in 1935. By one of the prominent architects who worked in Santa Barbara during the twenties and thirties. He
designed a few wonderful houses; and unfortunately died very young at 46. His name was Joseph Plunkett.
This house is a complete treasure! I hope I will show you why!! I am going to start with the exterior!
(To begin with; this house looks in pictures as though it was yellow. No. Pink.)
Many people do not know the importance of painting “correctly”;
in dealing with an old house (it is always more expensive than just slapping on some paint)!
Great advice on my friend Leta Austin Foster’s blog…….”Decorating with Sheets” ”when to call in the specialists!” She is one of the best
decorators on this earth (in my opinion); and her explanation of the importance of “specialists” cannot be better explained!
My darling friends Brooke and Steve Giannetti I asked to come see the house! They did and they loved it!
Steve solved the “roof problem”!
(one of the items of “deferred maintenance”!)
No where in Santa Barbara County can you on a put a new wood roof!
So he showed me the absolute best “fake shake” roof! (my skin crawled at the notion of ‘fake shake’; until I saw Steve’s solution!) Thank you Steve and Brooke!)
There is simply not one single “composition roof” that looks like real “shake”! Except this one!
The roof was on its last legs. You could see sky when you stood in the attic.
And the roof is huge! It goes across the entire house; over the “porte-cochere” and the two and a half car garage!
The wood shake that looks appropriate on this style of house is now illegal to use in much of California; due to the risk of fire;
so Steve Giannetti sent me this picture with this color and this maker of ”fake shake” roof which as you can see is
” as good as it gets”! It is “Cedarlite” and the color is:”Silverwood”! Thank you Steve! It looks gorgeous! (Just so you know; he also explained to our “head guy”
how to treat the side views so they didn’t look like ‘fake slate’!
This makes a “huge difference by the way!)
Here are the “planters” inset in the brick front terrace!
This was where the “leggy hags” lived! My total favorite Tara Dillard expression!
So inside those brick “planters” will be boxwood and an Anduze pot with a topiary “cone”
Instead of “leggy hags”
This is planter bed our daughter found at a chateau in France!
The exterior of the house had not been painted in over 35 years; and it was pink, with turquoise shutters!
The amount of preparation to sand and prepare the exterior woodwork and brick and stucco was mind-boggling!
It took 4 painters over 4 months for the inside and outside. (Fine painters) Nothing is more important in
the restoration of a fine old house than fine painters.
I often say to clients: ”nothing is more expensive than ‘cheap painters’!
Without the proper preparation; harm will be done that is almost unfixable. Hire “cheap painters” at your own risk!
It was completely worth it; because it will now hold up for many years to come.
We spent a long time on the phone!
The roof off; and the shutters off preparing to paint! This looks like it is yellow; but it was pink! Honestly, pink!
The new colors for the exterior are : the brick and stucco are a “creamy” off white ”New White” by Farrow and Ball”)
and the whiter trim is “Pointing” by Farrow and Ball;
and the shutters and front door are “Black Blue ” in “full gloss” Also Farrow and Ball!
Now we start the new colors outside!
Here is the “before ” front door!
Please excuse the photographer (me) the new front door!
Well; it was a neglected “beautiful woman”; in m opinion! It had simply not been “kept up”! And houses( and people) do deteriorate when they are not “kept up”!
I saw this house as a magnificent beauty in dire need of restoration and “heavy cosmetics”!
The bones..as so many of you commented were perfect!
This is the exterior! For my next post…….I will do the “during” of the interior!
Yikes! It is such an exciting thing to bring a beauty back with restoration! This house reminds me of the model “Carmen”!
She is gorgeous at 81! This house is 78! It needed help……but the “bones” were perfect; and no “remuddeling” had taken place!
the entrance to the dining room from the back terrace……..(don’t forget; one room deep!”
Who thought of an outside fireplace in 1935?
One chimney serves 3 fireplaces in this house!
Living room, this outside, and upstairs in the master bedroom. All use one chimney!
Now we see the new color scheme!
I think it makes a “magical” difference!
Just my opinion!
The chimney looks so pretty as “a part of the house”!
We do love the new , more classic, colors! That chimney was a bit of an eyesore!
(I am having a bit of a crisis! Newell Turner (my friend; editor of House Beautiful; recently promoted to “editor of all Hearst Design Publications”!!
Liked it “pink and turquoise!)
Look how the shutters really “work!
They have no curtains or anything yet! This is what shutters were invented for!
(When was the last time you saw a “shutter” closed? Let alone not being nailed to the house and completely the wrong size!)
I have many new subscribers!! I am going to post a few of my favorite (and others’ favorite posts)
In between new posts, so the new subscribers don’t have to go searching!!
(Be sure to click on the title to see the complete post!)
In 1997; we decided to move to Montecito from Pasadena.
We spent our honeymoon here in 1978; and I had grown up in Pasadena coming up every August!
We sold our house before we put it on the market in Pasadena!
I looked and looked for an older house; and my real estate agent almost gave up!
One day, she announced that she was showing me a “vacant lot”!! Oh no! I don’t want to build!!
She drove up to this!
(When you see where the pond is; this is where it is “before”!!! there was a pond! Nothing!)
(The one house next door is shown above.)
She said, ”There is a 45 acre nature preserve on one side; there is the 45 acre property of your Mother’s friend Mrs. Bacon on the other two sides It can’t be subdivided!;
and there are deer in there!”
She has known me since high school; and she knew that would clinch the deal!
The day we bought the property; I looked at this view; and there was a command in my head!
“A pond wants to be there!!”
(and right there is where it is!)
I told my husband that day! He said, ”Slow down, honey! We have a house to build; all kinds of more important things!”
“I said, no, you can’t dig a pond with a house in the way!!”
I wouldn’t let go of that! So he let us have the bulldozers dig a pond!
It filled up with water!
My goal from the beginning was to create a “nature preserve” of our own; and a “not too big house”!
I read every book I could find on attracting and keeping birds, butterflies and wildlife of all kinds!
And then I found that the National Wildlife Federation had a “Backyard Habitat Program” to assist homeowners who want to
assist wildlife! It is a fascinating program that anyone can qualify for; even if you only have a balcony!
I used two landscape designers; one in the beginning, and then I switched to my favorite! I
took Margie to the “nature preserve” next door, and said ” I want a landscape a lot like this!!”
Margie listens; and she can do any landscape someone wants! Her range is amazing!
The first thing we found out is that our lot is the “drain” of Montecito! All the flow charts end here!
So there was a massive drainage system that needed to be installed!
The “dry creek” below is connecting one “catch basin” to another! Designed by Margie to be a lovely part of the landscape!
Margie Grace Links to website
I worked with my favorite architect David Serrurier. There was another caveat: The building envelope was 65 feet square; which meant he had to fit a house, a guest house and a garage
in that space! The property is over 2 acres; but it couldn’t have anything built on any other part of it!
The guest house is above.
It feels like a little village! But the landscaping was crucial to the “animal habitat”!!!
look at the size of the tree on the left. That was about eight years ago!
That sycamore tree is 60 feet tall now!
To learn about the ”Backyard Habitat Program” click here!
National Wildlife Federation : this links you to the Garden For Wildlife Program/ Backyard Habitat.
Look at all the ducks that come back every year!
I had one duck house in the beginning; and now have two!
Thanks to my friend in Georgia!
Winston Brown, at www.lwbcreations.com !
Three years after we moved into the house a lady who had grown up nearby looked out the window at the pond, and said,
“I think it is lovely dear, that you put the pond back”!
In shock, I said….”Back? What do you mean?” She explained that in the early forties,(before I was born), there had been a pond exactly where we dug it!
Same size, same shape, same. There were stables here for polo ponies; and the pond was filled in to make a riding ring!
I still get chills telling that story. This land spoke to me, that is all I can say!
I keep the duck treats under this bee skep!
They recognize my voice, and come to me when they hear me! They are wild mallards; and they nest every year, laying their eggs inside
the duck houses! If a stranger comes out; they are “guarded”! And ducks return to
where they are hatched, so lucky us!!
My poor gardener had to “unlearn most of what he has spent a lifetime learning!
“No blowers, no mowers, no hedge trimmers, and I like the roses climbing the trees! And the vines on the rooftop!!”
We planted a whole bunch of milkweed for the monarch butterflies! He was completely horrified to see this, above!
Those monarch caterpillars eat all the leaves!! Yes! And then they make chrysalises and there are monarchs all over!!
When my granddaughter was in kindergarten; I decided to do the “Backyard Habitat” project with her!
We filled out the following questionnaire, and took pictures!
She had such fun!! “Granny, take a picture of THAT thicket!! It’s like an apartment house for birds!”
She proudly presented this certificate to her class; and said, “Granny and I won first place!!”
Now, (of course, there isn’t a “first place”! But she learned so much!)
Now, after 16 years, we have a covey of California quail, hummingbirds (3 kinds), and every kind of bird!
Not to mention, bobcats, coyotes, raccoon, Great Blue Heron, (I have to chase away when there are baby ducklings!)
The lady , (Joan Lentz) who wrote the book , “Birds of Santa Barbara County” identified 120 species in two hours
by their song!
I was outside playing my “iBird Pro” app on my iPhone and it was making the “Hooded Oriole” song;
and a male oriole landed on my hat!!!
The National Wildlife Federation is a wonderful source of information on what to plant to attract and nourish wildlife! It has been the most gratifying
thing about living here! Hummingbirds make their nests in the tendrils of ivy; and we even saw one baby fly for the first time when we were standing inside the
guest house front door! I said, “WOW! That is a once in a lifetime experience!”
(there were two babies so big they were perched on the top of the nest)
She said, “Granny, was it the boy or the girl?”
You just guess what I said!!
One of my very favorite bloggers is the elegant , handsome, and charming James Andrew of the
very popular blog, ”What is James Wearing?”!!
He and his delightful partner Scott McBee planned a really fantastic “California Adventure” with help
from some very knowledgable and sophisticated advisors!!
One of their stops was the Bacara Hotel nearby; and I invited them to lunch with fellow
bloggers Brooke Giannetti of Velvet and Linen and Hollye Jacobs of the Silver Pen and
another of his admirers, Lola Miller and her darling daughter!! We lunched at the Coral Casino Club; California’s
version of “Eden Roc” in the South of France!
They came to our house after lunch!
We met James in New York a few years ago with our friend David Patrick Columbia of New York Social Diary fame!
here is the link!
You can read all about it!
(dont miss the whole series on California! I think it would make a great book!!)
What a handsome devil!!!
The dogs agree!!
First of all, I have to say how completely thrilled I am to be participating for the first time in Splenderosa’s BY INVITATION ONLY!
Also incredibly lucky to have been able to pick the topic!!!
As some of you may know, I was published in House Beautiful (one of my very favorite magazines!) in September, 2011!
It was about our house! (Which we built from a vacant lot ten years before the photographs).
The photographs were taken a couple of years earlier; and the shoot was presided over by the
darling and wonderful Newell Turner!
I had not seen any of the photographs, and I was interviewed over the phone by one of my favorite writers, Mimi Read
of New Orleans (the Queen City of “Patina”).
I had no clue what the article would say! (nor the title)
I was thrilled with all of it!
Because of that article; I became close friends with Brooke of “Velvet and Linen”,
(author with her darling husband of the book “Patina Style”); started a blog, and have made wonderful friends in blogdom!
Marsha of the divine “Splenderosa” is one of them!
The picture above is an excellent example of what “Patina” is to me; and why I love it!
The dictionary defines it as:
This is a personal taste, I am sure everyone understands! This coverlet is all hand sewn copperplate toile
from 1782 England. My friend Eric Haskell (head of the Humanities Dept. of Scripps College has authenticated it). It is faded and worn in places,
(I think the man I bought it from thought I was crazy to buy it for $140.00) Eric has a fit that I use it; he says it belongs in a museum!
It represents the American Revolution! And it is the original from 1785.
It is in “Winterthur”.
(I just found it by “google images” ! It is in many museums!)
Lordy! This sold at auction for $3,500.00!!!
The pillowcases are old French embroidered in a way that cannot be duplicated today.
This gate was made by my pond man; I showed him a picture; and he made it! It is mesquite with leather holding it to the wall.
I said, “How on earth did you know how to make that? ” He said, “we vacation in third-world countries. They use what they have!”
(the mail truck hit one of them once; the man with the clipboard came to make a report; he was just scratching his head …I went out
and explained to him it wouldn’t be expensive to replace. I think he is still trying to figure out why
anyone would want a gate like that!!)
Sharon Santoni showed some lovely French shutters in her blog My French Country Home (below)
I looked everywhere for old shutters like she showed.
Our carpenter made some and they look close!
The patina on this old panelling is very difficult to reproduce. If it isn’t done really, really well; it doesn’t work at all!
(also from Sharon’s blog)
I try to promote the grown of this kind of stuff on our walls……no “power washing “
I actually cried when the floor people took this off our front steps! (it’s back!)
The real thing in France
(I know what a bad picture it is….)
My painter did a great job!
I did find an old gate from France. My husband said, ”Do I dare ask? Do we paint it????”
“EEEEK!!!!! NO!!!!!!!! That’s Patina!!!”
The lime wash on the walls of the loggia
My mother’s old “lacca provera” chest from Venice. Old oil paintings, antique Chinese export
porcelain (the color worn off the top handle)
The imperfections in the antique mantle are so appealing to me. And that it is hand-carved. Where has it been???
None of our walls are painted. Lime mixed with natural mined pigments we brought from France.
It is a natural insect deterrent, and leaves a lovely, uneven chalky surface that you see in Europe.
Our loggia again. Can you see the vine growing over hand painted fabric panel?
Now! A different sort of “patina”!!
That is Wendy on her chair! Quite proud of what she has wrought!
“Isn’t this how you make chenille??
I took these pictures in to Cowtan and Tout and said, ”this fabric just isn’t holding up very well!”
They all laughed their heads off!
Really the best way to learn about Patina is to read Brooke and Steve Giannetti’s book: ”Patina Style”!
When Brooke and I first met, I said, ”I think we knew each other in another life!” She
said, ”Just one?”
THAT WAS ONE OF THE GREATEST COMPLIMENTS OF MY ENTIRE LIFE!
If you find this interesting; please read this book!! It is my favorite!!!
I know, I know! I did a post already on the Summer Slipcovers!!
But something went haywire; and it disappeared from my website; some people received it, and some didn’t! All I could find was “error 104″!!
It has completely disappeared!
So here is another one! Just push delete if you saw it before! It will be different, because I can’t remember exactly what I showed or said!!!
I love changing slipcovers with the seasons! It is like having another house!
It also saves the various fabrics from as much wear and tear! All have to be dog and cat and kid-proof!
We’ll start at the front door! The dining area is to the right; and the sitting area with four chairs to the left…the bay window
seating area is straight ahead!
Luna is in her guarding position on the ottoman covered in an antique linen and hemp hand-woven French fabric!
In Spring, these 4 chairs are in vintage red French ticking! In Winter, cozy paisley!
These are covered for Summer in white on white Indian fabric that is all hand appliquéd in various geometric patterns!
You can see the incredible hand-work.
Looking the other direction!
The bay window has different pillows; a combination of some similar Indian appliqué that I found in bright yellow!
My favorite pillow in this group was made from a panel my mother bought in
Europe many years ago; and I found folded in her linens!
Now for an amazing story!
A few years ago,we rented a house in Spain for a week; we had our whole family ! (All 15!!)
I went to a painted furniture place I had always wanted to see; and look what was hanging on the wall!!!
The identical linen panel on another color background!!!
I’m trying to find out where it came from!!
This ottoman is in a vintage red French toile in
Spring; and in a red strie velvet in Winter!
This is another view!
The dining side of the “Big Hall” with Yellow Soulaido French fabric on the chairs !
This fireplace is opposite the other fireplace!
The trumeau mirror is one of a pair with two different scenes with children playing painted on them!
Dog-proof is important!!
I realized that our project from their standpoint was quite different from ours; and thought a lot of people would enjoy reading
about the challenges and reading the story!
It was love at first sight for this Montecito couple. The minute they saw the land, they knew they had found their Shangri-la. Two acres of poison oak, eucalyptus and Coast Live Oak sandwiched between a 45-acre creek side butterfly preserve and 50 heavily-treed acres of the old Bacon estate, the land was beautiful. The only hitch was it was considered unbuildable. The engineering challenges of managing subsurface water, springs and heavy runoff from the surrounding watershed had deterred many would-be builders.
The couple, however, would not let such a thing as an ‘unbuildable’ site stop them. They worked with the engineer and the architect to create a beautiful, modest yet sumptuous 3,500 square foot compound that sat lightly on the land and blended in naturally with the surroundings. The main house, guest house and garage are arranged around a courtyard and give the impression of a small village. The three individual buildings present a much smaller profile to the street than one large structure would, greatly lessening the visual impact the structures have on this very natural setting. When the Bianchis hired Grace Design Associates, Inc. to bring together their landscaping, they had completed construction on their home, thinned the eucalyptus trees, built the pond, completed the walks near the house and installed the larger landscape trees. They envisioned their garden would fit seamlessly into the native landscape, a sanctuary for wildlife and a respite from the workaday world. And, although they had an extensive subsurface drainage system and a perimeter flow-diverting wall in case the underground system failed, additional drainage was needed to accommodate increased runoff from the extensive construction being done on the estate to the west.
This is the guest house.
The flagstones in the gravel path.
Definition: (from Wikipedia)
as its French source venir (“to come”) indicates;
to emphasize the “coming to,” or arrival at a ”focal point” or an architectural feature.
In most cases, an ”avenue” is planted with all of the same species or cultivar
so as to give a uniform appearance along the full length of the avenue”.
Landscape designer Margie Grace and I collaborated on our “Olive Allee” here in Montecito.
I love “allees”; the symmetry and the canopy is beautiful.
The cypress tree in an Anduze pot is the focal point this way!
I need another “focal point looking this way!
This is the cypress in the pot at the end of the “allee”!
I’m not sure what this “focal point” is; The house is part of it!
Here is an enormous allee of old oak trees; Centered on the front door!
(a very old and gorgeous plantation in the South)
The centered tree is this focal point!
(I think this is in the South of France)
Allees are a lovely addition to a garden!
They “contain the view” and lead you toward their “focal point”!!
Landscape designer Margie Grace and I collaborated on our “Olive Allee” here in Montecito.
More about our Garden here. It tells the story of all the challenges!
She does a magnificent job!!!
At every kind of style!!!
Well!! Look how big the ducklings are!
They are now 57 days old; their wing feathers cross over on their backs! They CAN fly!!
I know these are terribly blurry. But we have a bird in our nestbox with her babies
that is a “Federally endangered species”!
A California Gnatcatcher! She has been feeding the babies (we can hear them begging!)
And yesterday they fledged and flew into the bushes! 6 of them! She continues to feed them!!
Her favorite maker was a Portugese company called “Marghab” from the island of Madeira. They had “separate boutiques” in the top department stores in the United States.
In fact; they were the very first company of any kind to have their products showcased in that way.
The company produced linens from 1932 until 1978.
Emile Marghab and his wife, Vera Way Marghab founded the company. The beautiful designs and attention to meticulous detail came from his
American wife, Vera. She grew up in South Dakota.
There is a wonderful book, “Perfection Never Less” written about her; and there is a rotating museum exhibition and more information at the University of South Dakota.
Hers is a fascinating story!
Here is a quotation from “Cynthia’s Linen Room” on line.
The quality of the linens was unmatched. Linens especially made in Ireland were used, threads from France and England,
and the Swiss produced the exquisite almost sheer “Margandie” which was exclusive to the company.
The island of Madeira was the source of the best embroidery in the world.
And Marghab was the best of the best.
They made tablecloths, placemats, guest towels, in beautiful and imaginative patterns.
I started collecting “cocktail” napkins when I received 4 for a wedding present!
Thanks to ebay, I now have over a hundred! Most of them came in the original boxes,unused!!
People were “saving them” Oh Dear!!
So they showed up in their estate sales!
Don’t save things!!!
This design on “Margandie” the pattern is “Varishka”
This shows the tiny stitches used. Women would teach their daughters at an early age.
Here is a guest towel. HINT!!! If people won’t use your guest towels; just crinkle one! And then they will!!!
These hand towels also show the fine stitches.
This picture is right after they hatched!!
And this is today!!
All 11 ducklings have survived; in 10 more days they will be able to fly!!
They are a little hard to distinguish from their Mommy!
(she is in the back watching!)
HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY WEEKEND!!!
AND PLEASE ENJOY WILDLIFE AND THE OUTDOORS!
ALL THESE DUCKLINGS HAVE SURVIVED…….WHEN I WALK OUT THERE……HEY SWIM TOWARD ME. I don’t ever “touch” them;
(it is very tempting) However, I do not want them ever to be vulnerable to people who do not want to “help them”; and who want ”eat them”!
Lots of ducks do fly to our pond……..(they do fly to where they “hatch”!Last January……..65!
They are welcome!! I live in heaven……and I haven’t even died yet!!!
thank you for following me! I am astonished!!!
This picture is right after they hatched!!
And this is today!!
All 11 ducklings have survived; in 10 more days they will be able to fly!!
They are a little hard to distinguish from their Mommy!
(she is in the back watching!)
HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY WEEKEND!!!
AND PLEASE ENJOY WILDLIFE AND THE OUTDOORS!
ALL THESE DUCKLINGS HAVE SURVIVED…….WHEN I WALK OUT THERE……HEY SWIM TOWARD ME. I don’t ever “touch” them;
(it is very tempting) However, I do not want them ever to be vulnerable to people who do not want to “help them”; and who want ”eat them”!
Lots of ducks do fly to our pond……..(they do fly to where they “hatch”!Last January……..65!
They are welcome!! I live in heaven……and I haven’t even died yet!!!
thank you for following me! I am astonished!!!
(I almost fainted!!!)
It is perched at the top of the most beautiful mountain village of St. Paul de Vence.
Here are some pictures we took at that time.
It is such a unique and unusual place; and it is still, 31 years later, is virtually unchanged.
Actually, it is almost unchanged from the 1920′s.
It exemplifies all of the things we love about Provence.
In two words, simple elegance.
The village is of native stone, built over centuries.
(Adam in the pool on the left!)
The simple chaises could not be improved upon(in my opinion). The light wood and canvas covers blend beautifully with the ancient stone walls.
The umbrellas and chairs and tables of the cafe are simple and elegant.
Nothing “sticking out” and calling attention to itself!
This is now an “endangered species” !!
“Understated elegance” An endangered species!
(Horrific plastic outside “wicker” furniture; orange umbrellas, hideous overdone wrought iron or aluminum furniture!!!)
I will stop my rant……and resume pictures of what I LOVE!!
and interesting to me…….I always have!
31 years is a long time!!
The terra cotta pots and olive jars are made from the local soil.
Natural linen cloths and napkins are undyed! The tablecloth and napkins are natural linen.
We both felt completely relaxed and at one with the environment.
We are not unusual. That is why, I believe major artists congregated here! MAJOR ARTISTS!!!
I actually saw doves flying in and out of the dovecote on the top of the next door building.
These lights are ingenious! They were made out of olive oil strainers. (these dark brown wicker ones!)
The oil was poured through these to “filter out” pieces of olives, to fill up the olive jars with the “filtered olive oil”.
We stayed on one trip at a wonderful hotel in Aix-en-Provence called La Villa Gallici.
It smelled absolutely divine; so I looked everywhere for a housekeeper who spoke English!
I found one and asked her what on earth smelled so good!
She explained that they used drops of pure lavender oil on the carpets and rugs throughout the hotel!!!
It is a natural insect repellent; it is a anti-anxiety treatment, and I have been using it at least 4 times a week ever since!
This is a big bottle; but to use it on our rugs, it is convenient to have it in small bottles that release just drops at a time.This
bottle is to refill the small ones!
I don’t know how to make it! I do make sachets out of our lavender!
And our little hen hatched 5 baby chicks just in time for Mother’s Day!!!
I transported her chicks to the “maternity ward” coop in this basket! She is taking great care of them!
Happy Mother’s Day!
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!!
I ran this last year on Mother’s Day, and for anyone who didn’t see it, you might enjoy it!!
I had a wonderful Mother!!
She was the creative behind my own creativity; although my father, (whom I cannot remember) was extremely creative as well!
I owe so much to my mother; and since she died when I was 33; I never really was able to thank her for her encouragement
and support of a talent……that really barely had a “job description” when I started “decorating”!
So, I decided, in honor of my talented and wonderful mother , to repost this “surprise” film I discovered this past year! (thanks to my cousin and her contractor!)
I hope those of you who haven’t seen it will enjoy it! Those who have seen it can push “delete!!
Now we begin the original post……..shortly after we discovered this film!! (78 years after it was filmed!!!):
So, I decided to share the thing I am most thankful for in a long, long time!
Honestly; the best “Surprise Present” I have ever received (that was not alive!) is this!
I was born in 1947 in Los Angeles; My mother was 40 years old when I was born (that was a neighborhood scandal!) I have a brother born in 1938; ( there were blood issues ; now easily solved);
however, my mother lost 7 pregnancies after my brother; who was born in 1939!
My Daddie died when I had just turned 4; I heard wonderful stories about him; I have some great photographs of him which I treasure….and are on my walls!
I don’t remember him…really…except little tiny “snippets”..I never saw him “move”; and I didn’t remember any “mannerisms” or ”body language”.
My mother was an enormous influence…..we were incredibly close; I learned everything I know from her; and she was a total pistol;
until Parkinson’s took her down at 67 (YIKES!) and took her life at 70.
So: my cousin Paulette calls me to say she found a yellow “Kodak” box with my father’s name on it; inside is a roll of film with a date stamp of “June 20 1950″
I think it might be my birthday party! Off it toodles to be turned into a disc! I put it into my laptop; and this is the story!
It is a film of them right after their wedding!!
It was a “silent movie” filmed 16 years earlier; in 1934! It is a movie (when you had to crank it up……and let it wind out…..and crank it up again!)
My mother was 26; my father 32; they were married in Yuma Arizona, in 1934!
Right after the ceremony; this person filmed them leaving the “Justice of the Peace” office;
and off they went to some divine hotel with a cousin; filmed by someone! In 1934!
After they left for the hotel, they were filming each other and talking to each other!
My father took it to the film store to update the film 16 years later. He knew he was dying; I think he did so so we could watch it when he was gone! He died in 1951.
This is the 3 minute film.
Having a movie of my parents right after they are married is great enough; however, this is the first time I have ever seen my Daddie “move”!
It means more to me than I can express!
One of my friends said it so beautifully!
She said….”this shows the power of film to bring people back to us”!
Watching it, I felt they were blowing kisses at me!
I saw a lot of love here! Please share your comments!
Pretty darn stylish people; and the cutest car! A 1934 Ford Cabriolet with a rumble seat!
An incredible gift!!!
Well, there is a “secret place” in Montecito. Honestly; even close neighbors barely know it is there!
It was the dream job of a lifetime for me!
In 1989, my client and dear friend in Pasadena, Molly Munger, (her Italian villa by Reginald Johnson circa 1919 is pictured in my “work” section) , told me
that her father “Charlie Munger” had some property in Montecito that he wanted to develop for many years; and he was
“getting close”! “I think you want to go up there on Tuesday with Charlie and Nancy” (his wife, her stepmother)!
So I did!
His property was originally part of a subdivision of a large estate owned by the Hammond family; and it was slated to be more large condominium buildings which were built in 1970.
The Montecito community was not happy about these buildings; and they went bankrupt. Charlie and Warren Buffet (his partner at Berkshire-Hathaway) owned the bank
which had the second mortgage. They knew that anything resembling the original buildings would be impossible to build. Charlie also knew that Montecito
was a very special place. He had been a guest at a very unusual development in Oceanside, California, called “St. Malo”.
It was developed starting in 1929..(it was the first gated community in San Diego County)!
and a family with a “vision” (from Pasadena, where I grew up) bought a big bunch of acres……and started a “development” with very strict architectural
restrictions. This is seriously one of my favorite things I have ever seen on the coast of California.
It resembles a fishing village of the same name in the Brittany area of France. That village “St. Malo”
was the inspiration. Many owners who built houses in Oceanside traveled there
to take pictures and buy things.
Many of the houses are extremely authentic; the people who built them went to France and brought back materials.
The coast of California is not known for its fine architecture. Far from it. Frankly, it is pretty sad. Even pathetic. Never mind!
“St. Malo” is a jewel on the coast.
An article about it is on the “san diego travel tips”:
Charlie; being the visionary that he is, thought this would make sense in Montecito!
I went with Charlie and his lovely wife Nancy up to see this property! YOWZERS!!
Beautiful! 28 acres.
It is a”flag lot” meaning that the first part of it is behind some beachfront houses….
and then it opens up and there is a meadow and 11 lots around it with ocean views and frontage. The plan had 23 “condominiums”
(forget every single condominium you have ever seen); a common clubhouse with a tennis court, swimming pool, kitchen and a wonderful living room with poolhouse bathrooms!
This was in “the planning stages”
Charlie finally got the permits to build a “village” like St. Malo; and he was starting to build it!
At first, I was hired to “decorate” the clubhouse! (which was not built yet).
Now. Here is the clubhouse! Originally, Charlie hired me just to do the “Clubhouse”! My foot was “in the door”!!
I designed it. I showed him samples and presented it all to him in his office.
(there is a farm table with red chairs that don’t show in this picture)…they are to the right!
He said, ”everything is ok here; except the red chairs. They need to be dark wood color.”
I leapt up! I jumped up and down!!! I shrieked! ”NONONO!! THEY NEED TO BE RED! THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT!”
“It will be so ordinary if they are brown wood! This project just cannot be ‘ORDINARY’!”
AND THEN I SAID……..(this is the God’s truth; I could not make this up!)
“And, Charlie, there just needs to be one person doing all these houses you are building! And it needs to be me! I “get” your vision!
I want you to hire me! I know what to do here!”
And he did. And I did.
And that is a true story of a dream job.
My title was “Aesthetic Director”!
So, for the next twenty years…….I chose all the “finishes” exterior and interior; the light fixtures inside and out;
the cabinets, the colors, the floors, the tiles (87 bathrooms all different hand painted tile!
24 kitchens…….all different cabinets and tile! Whew!!!)
for the 23 “condominiums…the clubhouse ..and for Charlie’s own house, and another house!
There are 11 “houses” (built by the owners….but subject to the architectural restrictions) that surround the “common areas;
and the “condominiums ” which are all completely different from one another.
This has never been publicized. So here we go!
Here we are. On one of the most “primo” surf beaches in the world. ”Hammond’s” is in every book about surfing beaches. Charlie had to provide a special bridge and beach access to surfers! He also
had to deal with the Chumash Indians; who have a “sacred Indian burial ground” right on the ocean. The following picture is the meadow (which cannot be landscaped); and the Chumash
have rituals here. There is a monument honoring them. This an multi- acre open meadow right on the ocean in honor of their ancestors!
Near the center to the left; you can see the monument!
Here is the monument…..and the Indians have celebrations sometimes in this meadow!
There are some very low-profile houses along the edge of this meadow. They had to be low because of the two story condominium
buildings behind them. ( They emerged from bankruptcy; and now sell for millions each!)
The views from these houses (not condominiums) go up and down the coastline; and the surfing beach is right to the left of them!
This is looking at these houses across the meadow…..and you can see the condominiums behind. More
Yikes! What an exciting week!
Fifi O’Neill , the founder and editor in chief of this magazine/book,(and many others! ”google” her!)
saw our house and my friend Renee’s house on my blog; ( she expressed interest in both of them)!
and Mark Lohman (a wonderful photographer, and an old friend)
photographed them both for this issue! It just came out; but it will be on the newsstands until July 29th!
I absolutely love the job they did with the wonderful photographs;
(and the writing I think quite captured my philosophy !! And also Renee’s spirit and creativity )!
Fifi is quite the genius! She is unbelievable!!
We couldn’t make the printing bigger; so run out and buy this! The whole issue is just exceptional!! You will want to
add it to your library !
It is in markets (my friend from the “Henhouse”, Elizabeth found two in the Safeway! Cathy my friend in Pasadena found it at “Target!!) and
on newsstands kind of everywhere!
I must say, every article is definitely very educational! I am so proud to be
included in this group of very talented people!!
I actually read the analysis of things that I do! And I learned a lot! Much of my work is instinctive!
It is fun for me to see how it is analyzed!
The cover photograph is of Fifi’s cottage in Florida, where she lives!
Here is the informative, educational, and delightful article on our house!!
Sometimes people ask me about “faux” wall finishes.
The walls in our house are not “faux” anything! They are lime washed.
Lime (which is mined out of the ground); is mixed with natural pigments also mined out of the ground in Roussillon, France
in a way it has been done all over Europe for hundreds of years!
The lime is a natural insect repellent; and this kind of “paint” lets the mortar in old stone and brick houses “breathe”.
(A friend who has an historic plantation near New Orleans had some serious damage done to her
outbuildings by a movie studio painting with modern paints!)
I absolutely love murals; and am so lucky to have this one in our powder room. The animals all around our property
are represented; it makes me happy every time I peek in there! We always leave the light on, as there is no window!
(Done by Zoe Designs from Massachusetts; Brooke and Lena)
There is our rooster!
It reminds me of the sky! This is pale blue lime wash in the powder room!
This delightful deer I haven’t seen; but she may be out there!
We had peacocks for a while! They “ran away from home”!
This is in our master bathroom; over a bathtub. From the tub; I can see the sky and the pale blue ceiling!
Just in time for the Piedmont Garden Club!!
The proud Mommy! It’s the most we have ever had!
The duck house in the rear (from LWB Creations in Georgia) is where she sleeps to keep the ducklings safe!
She laid her eggs and hatched them in the one in the front!
The ivy is growing new leaves!
I was asked by the Piedmont, California Garden Club to show them our garden and house.
I was so pleased and flattered; I asked them to have a picnic lunch in the garden at the long table!
They are coming on Tuesday!
My friend and fellow blogger Tracey Jackson
came to Santa Barbara to visit her mother; and came over to visit!
(These pictures were taken last Spring! Not by Tracey)
Tracey is a screenwriter, and that is one reason she is such a good blog writer!
She has also published books!
Honestly, in about fifteen minutes, she took some wonderful pictures and posted them!
The title is “Penny Bianchi’s birds in Paradise”!!
Here is the link!
I think you’ll enjoy her blog!
I’ve been taking some “beginning of Spring” pictures which I will be posting soon!
Yesterday, I was stunned when I received a post by my new friend, Julie of TG Interiors!
She wrote me to ask if she could speak to me about how I started my career;
and she wanted to see if had had advice for young people
thinking about a design career!
She lives nearby, and I invited her to lunch and we spent a nice afternoon chatting about our business!
I was so touched, I cannot tell you by this beautiful and generous post!
I was touched, and thrilled and surprised! You will see why!
Thank you , Julie, from the bottom of my heart!
Here is the link:
May I introduce Mari, who wrote this lovely guest post about one of my favorite things: ”Butler’s Pantries” (I need a butler!!)
Hello, everyone! I’m Mari, a writer for Arcadian Home, a fabulous online place to find chandeliers, lighting fixtures in all styles and finishes, and stunning home decor. I am delighted to be visiting with you today to share a guest post about charming butler’s pantries.
Also known as a serving pantry, a butler’s pantry is a room, large or small, that’s most often used to store china, glassware, serving pieces and table linens. Often found in large older houses, these convenient spaces seem to be showing up in lots of new construction, especially sought after by homeowners who do a lot of entertaining. Here are eight beautiful butler’s pantries that just might have you dreaming of your very own. Please enjoy!
With a gorgeous apron sink, this spacious butler’s pantry is not only extremely functional but beautiful as well. An ornate little chandelier joins under-cabinet lights and up-lighting at the ceiling.
With back-lit shelves, this enormous butler’s pantry is at once rustic and contemporary. Where the home is located in Alabama, USA, this awesome space is called the dish room.
This narrow pass through butler’s pantry was featured in The Hampton Designer Showhouse 2010. With a traditional feel and pretty neutral palette, the space contrasts nicely with the more colorful dining room beyond. I love the juxtaposition of a crystal chandelier and the contemporary globe pendant light.
A tiny but convenient butler’s pantry has been carved out of what might have once been a closet. The black chandelier brings a bit of whimsy to this rather formal space.
This hallway butler’s pantry has custom storage from floor to ceilingóplenty of room for table linens, silver, china, glassware and serving pieces. The red, white and blue rug brings a bit more color to the space.
Marble countertops are a lovely contrast to the rich wood paneling and cabinetry. Antique copper pans and molds are a charming addition.
A bit more rustic, this country style butler’s pantry features open shelving, butcher’s block countertop and beadboard backsplash. Hammered copper stars here in the deep apron sink and pendant lights.
Another even more rustic space offers lighted cabinets with multi-paned sliding glass doors that go all the way to the ceiling, plus closed storage in lower cabinets and lots of counter space for serving. All in all, this is one charming butler’s pantry. Images 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8
What do you think of these charming butler’s pantries? Leave us comments below, and be sure to check out Arcadian Home for more dazzling pendant lights, lighting fixtures, and home decor!
What I love about slipcovers is so many things!!
My mother was from the “South”. (Lucky me in so many ways having particularly to do with the “HOUSE!”)
She taught me to have four………yes four…… seasonal sets of slipcovers for my furniture.
(My goal is four; I now have three; and I will have four!” In this post I will show two out of three.)
First of all; when a new season starts; I get a” new house”! It’s almost like having 3 houses in one.
It is just a joy! Even my husband gets excited.
The very first day of “fall” The old “Oriental” rugs rugs go back down; All the pillows change, the slipcovers change on the furniture;
and it does almost look like a different house!
My lifelong collection of antique paisley shawls, antique needlepoint (collected for decades; even some made by me) ;
and the fall cozy colors emerge to replace the Summer pillows and fabrics.
The banquette is covered with my antique tapestry pillows; collected over my lifetime.
Some were found on a trip to Dallas; to do a “speaking engagement”; for which I was paid generously . ( I came home with divine
antique tapestry pillows which were made from an 18th century tapestry chopped up and made into pillows; and none of my “fee”!)
Boy did I have fun (And what pillows they are.)
The tapestry was falling apart; there is nothing wrong in this…….
the lady who made these exquisite pillows rescues the intact , fragile parts of the tapestry; and makes exquisite pillows
with antique trim, hand-dyed velvet, and down fills.
They must not be considered “pillows”!
(They are 18th century works of art preserved for all these years and bringing joy and beauty
hundreds of years later as fragments)
(just explain this to your husband…when he says….”WHAT did you pay for those pillows???)
(You can do it!)
(this lecture has been delivered to many clients; Most often successfully.)
Here are a few examples:
This is one from Dallas. There is a village scene around this tree.
This little creature I found in the flea market in Paris.
You can see that collecting things can give so many layers of beauty and meaning to your house!
(This is our new dog, rescued from a freeway onramp)! The dogs are fond of the banquette; and the leopard blanket came from Bunny Williams
recommended dog bed source: (Wally beds ; totally washable)
So to begin; this is fall. This is our “big hall” a combination living-dining room……
AND THIS IS ABOUT SLIPCOVERS; AND THIS IS
This picture shows a lot of the furniture! with……
The fall slipcovers.
Deep rust Fortuny on the ottomans; teal on the chair seats, tapestry pillows and some quilt on the banquette, and the rugs and paisley
by the fireplace! (one of the two fireplaces in the room).
Rug and cozy seats around the fireplace on the “seating” side of the room.
(there are two fireplaces one at each end. One at the “seating end”; and another at the “eating end”.
Still at the seating side of the room
My husband’s incredibly talented uncle’s “book box”.
We inherited it.
Lars Bolander (the chicest antique dealer alive), carries a copy all hand made……..go to
www.larsbolander.com and see for yourself! And buy something. The best!
The “chicest” thing I think I own! ” Arce Bianchi”! He was a taste-setter, bon-vivant, and a major “patron of the arts”
In San Francisco in the forties, fifties and sixties.
The stool is from the thirties. My old friend gave it to me along with our “sphinxes” on our front terrace.
A “safari in the thirties”.
This is the opposite side of the room!
Directly opposite the other fireplace!
Its oriental rug is a cozy addition.
This is the dining area: this area has its fall and winter backwards Fortuny.
Again; Slipcovers. And end of FALL.
NOW LET’S TALK ABOUT SPRING!
HERE IT IS! THIS TRANSFORMATION STARTS MARCH 21st.
The main rugs go to storage and the pretty peach floors show.
Cushions pale yellow silk; ottomans yellow Fortuny.
Different pillows and quilt on the banquette.
This close-up shows the spring pillows in better detail.
By the way, the valance is two antique valances sewn together found at an “Antique Show”
Antique shows are great places to find vintage textiles.
And my antique toile coverlet with the hand embroidered work salvaged from some beautiful old sheets made into a pillow by my friend Kathy
(Pillow Beach on Etsy)
Hi my friends and followers! And thank you to the new followers……..I am struggling and my assistant is helping!
By the way; I am working on the second edition of “during” with the Monterey Colonial! I have a new assistant……I don’t know how to blog pictures well..
..blah blah blah! I’ll get there! I hope you can be patient!
I decided to “interrupt the program” with this, a truly heartwarming story !
And I think YOU ALL will have feelings about it!!
Background: After being in business for 17 years; I was first “published” (every decorator’s dream! I think!)
Perhaps not; but it’s always been mine! (not to be “famous”…but, to be able to inspire others to surround themselves with beauty!)
And to help show them how!! I started in 1970!
(decorating; not blogging! I am not Bill Gates..just so you know!)
The first time I was published was in 1987; in a one-issue magazine called “Tiffany Magazine”
It was published once……and it never hit the newsstands……it was an celebration of 100 years of Tiffany’s;
and it was given away at numerous fund-raisers all over the country!
I almost died of excitement! Beautifully photographed…….(I have no idea how they found me!! And our house in Pasadena!)
Second time was for a TV show! “Dream Living” about “people who live in their “dream houses”!!
(Lord have mercy….it is still on some channels…once a month I get a message…..or speak to an old friend…….
“Yikes! I was in this hotel surfing the channels and there you are leading a tour through your house in Pasadena!”
How funny is that!?
Yikes!! My goal achieved! ”timeless decorating”! That is my philosophy !
Next time was 2002; in Traditional Home magazine! Be still my heart!
I was so excited I couldn’t stand it! I had heart palpitations on the way to the mailbox .
My new friend Bonnie walked into our brand-new house; and exclaimed……….THIS HAS TO BE PHOTGRAPHED RIGHT AWAY!”
And back she came the next morning with her camera!
She was (unbeknownst to me; a “scout” for Traditional Home”!)
As excited as I was; the magazine articles used to go into the stratosphere!
The only feedback (and believe me I don’t mean “only” in a negative way)
was a “letter to the editor” the following month.(they post very few, understandably; this letter to the editor is still one of my “peak experiences”!)
It said, (or something like it)! ” I enjoyed seeing the house that Mrs. Bianchi designed and built in Santa Barbara;
and I especially loved to see how Mrs. Bianchi used the furniture from her former house in the one that she just built.”
I don’t have that exactly right..but you get it! 15 years after being “published” in a small (yes, rarefied) magazine;
15 years later this lady in Maine is loving my way of reusing!!!??!! (it is my religion!) my “things”!
I had to go find a copy of “Tiffany” magazine to see the pieces she was talking about! (I asked for 20 copies; I just had to find them in my house!)
Yikes! I can’t even describe how happy that made me!
The feedback that showed one decorator learned something so important and elemental to me! Honestly; maybe I am easy to get excited…….
but that was a major milestone to me! ”Use what you have!” Good Grief!
And that is the only feedback from several magazines I was featured in subsequently (the thrill never diminishes!; by the way)!
In the “olden days” when any of us were published;
it just went out into the “ether”!! I adored it; but none of us had really any idea
who read what or who liked what……or any of that!
The internet; as we all know, has changed our lives and our businesses profoundly !
Tonight I received an email! And here it is!
I was choked up with tears in my eyes! Totally wonderful for me and all of you; in every way!
Look what happens! Astonishing!
“Hi Penelope,I just read your sweet reply regarding my name, Poppy, at Tone on Tone, Loi Thai’s wonderful blog. I was so moved by your lovely words that I clicked onto your name and your blogger profile came up. As soon as I saw ‘interior decorator’ and ’Montecito’, I recognized you from a magazine article featuring your beautiful home that I had bookmarked in one of my decorating magazines! I clicked onto your web page and then onto ‘Press’ and, lo and behold, it all came back to me! Your gorgeous home and impeccable style were the first things that inspired me in the job of designing our first country home, here on the island of Crete, way back in 2002.Today, ten(!) years later, to have been noticed, albeit because of my name, here in blog land, by the person who influenced my design style, is truly serendipitous!I am a Greek Canadian living in the Cretan countryside, and I have been writing about my home in the village since May of this year on my blog: www.poppyview.blogspot.com. Interestingly, your name is derived from the great Penelope, wife of the hero, Odysseus, who is known for her faithfulness and feminine virtue, in Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey. In my case, my lovely daughter nicknamed me Poppy (after the flower’s delicate quality and colour), a long time ago and friends and family picked it up immediately; it was the most natural thing!It was a pleasure to ‘meet’ you! I still can’t believe my luck!Hope you’ll drop by Poppy View sometime, and have a look around.Sincerely,Poppy”Now it is me, Penelope again!Can you wrap your mind around this?Exquisite and heartwarming and soul-feeding; and words fail me!(Whenever that happens…….I say ”YOWZERS!!!”)I cannot imagine anything (except from my family) moving me the way this did!I was almost breaking into tears standing in line for popcorn at the movies! I bailed…tears streaming down my face! (no popcorn for me!)!Honestly; one of the most meaningful and soul-strengthening things I have ever received!And I am sure you all know why!Sheesh!I hope you all understand that there is no “bragging” going on here! (I do not mean to “brag”)It is just “MAJOR” to me that I, (completely unknowingly), helped a woman build the house of “her dreams” on Crete! in 2002! Because of the article she read(and SAVED) for 10 years!She thinks SHE is excited! I haven’t even answered her yet!I have to go to sleep first! I am way too filled with emotion!I am posting this before I even go see her new blog ! (I think I am new, and I am, but she started in May this is just this last May!)How lovely of her to send me this incredible feedback.Thank you Tone on Tone; (for having such a great blog that people in Crete are reading your beautiful ideas!!) That is a wonder in itself!and thank you for publishing my comment……thank you Brooke…..”Velvet and Linen”..without you I would not have a website…..and this thrilling thing could never have happened..Thank you , you wonderful woman.And thank you all my subscribers!If I knew how; I would send you all a personal thank-you note!I will learn how; but until then, please know I get so excited every time I get an email…new subscriber!I will get back into the swing of things as soon as possible!Penelope
were moving back this fall; and wanted to buy their “first house” !
Time to buy their first house! Yikes!
I have looked at just about every family house in Montecito! And I saw some wonderful houses “dying on the vine” because of the colors, the furniture, and also, the “tile”!
The truth is, most people cannot “visualize”! They see what is there; they cannot see what “can be”!
This is one of them! The second I drove into the driveway; a feeling came over me……….and when I walked into the front door…….”I knew it!”
I thought I found one I thought was “perfect”!!
The key for me is this……a good size for five; and still a good size for two!
That is what I saw when I saw this house!
This is the “before”! This is the former owner’s furniture.
This is how I saw it the first day!
This will be fun!
I am particularly fond of an architectural style known as “Monterey Colonial”.
It started in Monterey, California
with an adobe with a second story and a balcony across it.
One of the first houses in this style is the famous “Larkin House” in Monterey; pictured below.
How perfect this looks to me! The pitch of the roof….all of it! I think this is beautiful! Built in the early 1800′s!
The renowned decorator Frances Elkins bought an historic house in Monterey,”Casa Amesti” built in 1830 and she ”restored” it;
and greatly enlarged her decorating practice because she did such a good job.
In fact; she became the “superstar” decorator
all over the United States because of her start in her “Monterey” at “Casa Amesti”;
and her partnership with her brother, David Adler! Such a happy story!
This architecture “married the Spanish-Mexican building materials adobe bricks and redwood
with the rectangular block and center-hall interior plan of an Eastern colonial.”
One of the hallmarks of this architecture is the second-floor balcony.
Frances Elkins bought Casa Amesti in 1918.
She took a “falling down wreck” and with her brother, the architect David Adler, turned it into the “showplace of northern California”!
It was largely because of her that this style of architecture became very popular, in California particularly.
And it was because of the beauty and sensational taste she exhibited in this astonishing
house; she had a following all over the United States……California, the midwest and the East!
she was talented beyond!
She decorated most of “Pebble Beach”; one of the loveliest residential areas in California.
She was immensely successful! There is a book about her; written by Stephen Salny……(such a good writer! And a GREAT BOOK!)
She was “the” California decorator in the twenties, thirties, and forties!!
San Francisco, Pebble Beach, around Lake Forest in the midwest, and back east……..(she was the “IT” girl) in terms of decorating!
And she kind of “started Monterey Colonial”! She set it “on fire”!
“Frances Elkins Interior Design” by Stephen Salny (when I use quotes; it is from his book about her!)
This is her house in Monterey; which is on the “National Register”
I grew up in Pasadena, California, and the “Monterey Colonial” was a very popular style there.
They were built in the “golden age” (in my opinion) of architecture in Pasadena,
and California; the twenties, thirties and forties.
Some wonderful architects used this style a lot. My favorite architects who were designing during this period were Roland Coate,
Reginald Johnson, Gordon Kauffman, and George Washington Smith.
Here are a few in the neighborhoods in Pasadena.
As you see here, the traditional colors are cream or white, with white railings and dark shutters.
Black-green or black blue. And , please note most have “real working shutters”; not skinny stuck on fake ones!
Imagine my surprise to see this “Monterey Colonial” in Montecito!!
I love, love the architecture; it was designed in 1934 by Joseph Plunkett, a very famous architect in Santa Barbara.
You can’t tell very well; but the house was pink! With turquoise shutters! Even the non-traditional colors could not hide the beauty of the architecture!
The lovely balcony goes across the front of the house and there is a curving stairway up to the balcony over to the right.
Three magnificent oak trees span the entire front. These trees go along the ground .
Usually these trees are “trimmed up” and these are really unusual and create privacy from the street. I am a third-generation Californian…….I have seldom
seen trees this magnificent……and they have been lovingly maintained for 77 years!
These trees are over one hundred or one hundred and fifty years old!
In California……this is a serious rarity!
So; I fell in love in the driveway; then I go to the front door!
I walk into the central entrance hall and I see the sky!!
The oval entry hall I fell in love with at first sight!
To your right is an “enfilade” looking through the dining room, pantry and kitchen! To your left; you have another “enfilade” looking through the living room
to the antique fireplace in the gorgeous paneled library!
The house is “one room deep” which is very unusual, and creates both north and south exposures in many of the rooms.
This is the gorgeous paneled library at the end of the left side of the “rectangle”.
If you turn to the right in the entry hall; you enter the dining room, butlers pantry, kitchen, breakfast room.
To the right of the entry is the dining room with the same thing as the living room
A pair of French doors with sidelights andlights above opening to the back terrace;
and a pair of French doors opening to the front terrace opposite them.
Because of the curving exterior stairs; this shapely and charming pantry (with its original 1935 tile!) has a curving wall! (one of my very favorite decorators in the world was Keith Irvine;
he and his wife “Chippy” had this tile in their country house and their children learned their
names of animals and fruit from them!)
The kitchen; beautifully remodeled by the last owner; uses a copy of the tile, and the servant’s room
turned into a “breakfast area and laundry room.Also with north and south windows!
This is the side……the window facing south is to the right……and the french doors facing North……are to your left through the
This is the window facing south (which here faces the ocean! California makes a turn where
Santa Barbara is; so it is a “south facing coast”!
These doors face north toward the mountains and the back terrace
and garden. They “opened in” which was a huge problem in the floor plan. We turned them around……I noticed on the “plans” for the remodeled kitchen……they were supposed to open “out”!
Oh well! Stuff happens!
Back to the entry hall………….and ………..Up the stairs we go!
At the top of the stairs; here is another window facing south; so the entry hall is bathed in light! (I love the carved valences above the entry hall windows!)
At the top of the stairs; turn to your right; and a hallway with closets leads to the master bedroom!
It has three exposures! Windows facing west, north, and French doors facing south and leading onto the front balcony!
I take an instant dislike to the fake beams (I cannot help myself!) The fake beams and the can lights just have got to go! And they did! The room
felt very crowded..I just had to eliminate the furniture in my mind…….lovely room. Lose the fake beams!
Even with the heavy shutters, the light was incredible!
The shutters needed to go; (immediately! I didn’t even know exactly why….it was visceral!)
I found most of the furniture very oversized and heavy, but the “bones” of the house
were singing to me!
I do often encourage my clients to use plain tile because it is permanent and difficult to change.
It made me dizzy! And it was in two entire bathrooms; floors and walls!
this was the master; the other one, downstairs off the library!
Now….at the top of the stairs……turn left……(it is so lovely to have a central hall in the middle of the house..
this is a “classic” because it is ‘calming’ and feels wonderful from the second you walk into the front door.
So much of “architecture and design is ‘visceral’ and there is a reason that central hall houses are comfortable and lovely! It all makes sense!
This house had been on the market for awhile…..but was very difficult to show. It was rented out as a “vacation rental”!
Turn to the left and a hallway leads to two bedrooms that share a dressing room and bath.
This room felt small with all the furniture in it; but I knew it wasn’t!
This dressing room is shared by two bedrooms, and also a bath! Great closets!
this is the shared bathroom…….this tile was much more palatable……..
but when I learned all the tile in the bathrooms was 35 years…….no. we cannot paint….that is too long!
The tile had to go…….in all 3 bathrooms! It was the right thing to do!
This is the “girl’s bathroom!
Brooke taught me about “pool plaster”! It is so genius! And it looks so divine!
And we got rid of this tile…….we did “pool plaster” on all the walls…..replaced the “louvered” door with a solid door….put in a cabinet with a sink……..
All these changes are happening right now….wait till you see!
Here is the “before”!!
Steve Giannetti designed a delightful “playroom” and guest room and bath in the garage to the left of the “porte-cochere” Genius!
and he wrote on the plans “any chance of a cathedral ceiling in here?” on the porte-cochere! And we did it!
Brooke showed our plasterer her bathrooms in Oxnard done entirely with “pool plaster”!
They are so fantastic!
Thank you, Brooke and Steve!
Here is a view of the lovely balcony across the front of the house!
and here is a view of the “secret” lap pool on the left (west) side of the property behind a hedge!
and this is the view from the house……and all the rooms……this amazing garden and lawn!
The pool is behind the hedge on the left……behind the hedge on the right is an amazing orchard and rose garden.
this is the most lovely house!
This is the “before”
Next……..the challenging “during”!
I described it to them and sent photos of this beautiful classical house!
It is nothing short of a miracle……really………It has unfolded as the most beautiful house I have ever seen!
(no, I am not exaggerating!)
(what does not show in any of these pictures is the views from the windows!)
The shutters were “boxes” around lovely moldings around the windows; and there were “double key locks’ on almost every door inside and out..
They “threw off” the proportions of the hardware . These are things most people would think were
not important…..and they make “all the difference!!”
At the end of the day; the house is exquisite…….incomparable, unimaginably beautiful….and I cannot wait to post the after!
Get your smelling salts ready!
But next………comes the “during’!
Rears its ugly head!